John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
We begin at the very beginning of all things, echoing Genesis 1:1-5. Whereas Genesis is concerned with the very widest array of ‘origins’ issues– Who is God? Why has he created? Where do humans fit in the cosmos?– John is concerned specifically with the origins of ‘the Word’ (whom he soon reveals as Jesus of Nazareth). Here we learn that the Word is God and has always been God. We also learn that the Word was with God– literally ‘towards God’, which requires a distinction between God and the Word and yet a relationship of intimacy between the two.
Just as in Genesis 1, after announcing God as creator, the next major theme introduces light. The Word has life within him, the life which is the light of all humanity. Without this light of life, humanity is overcome by darkness.
The metaphor of Light is significant throughout John 1-12. God the Father is the source of light, Jesus is the light that shines (akin to the photons of light that share the nature of the source and which emanate from the source), and then there what is revealed by the shining of the light. This is the testimony to be received by humanity. What is revealed by this light? God himself.
Dear God, I am delighted to learn that before the beginning you were in relationship– Father, Son and Spirit. I stand amazed that you sustain the life of humanity collectively– and me individually– from your Word. In him is my light and my life. Amen.